Thursday, April 27, 2017


Ladies, listen up

This is not a poem
It’s a manifesto
One I hope you print and nail up on the
Entrance of your salle
Read it every time you enter
Review again on your way out

I see you
Rage against the normal vagaries of
Blame yourself for falling short of your own
Impossible ideals

I see you
Incriminate yourself
As lacking talent
Never working hard enough
Being just pain dumb

I see you
Lest your results not prove to
Spouse, partner, children, colleagues
That all that time was worth
The late nights, cold dinners,
Miles spent upon the road
Dollars spent on lessons and on gear
Plane fares, hotel rooms and registration
Co-pays to the doctor, trainer, therapist et al


Here’s my thesis:
You are heroes
Every one of you
Heroes—did you hear?
Not “heroines”—diminutives need not apply

You persevere through
Broken blades, bum knees, bad weather,
Clubmates who get better faster than they should
Teenagers who, now one year older, can’t be touched
Coaches who indulge their temper and their tongues
Podiums that stubbornly remain
Just of reach

I also see you
Fix the broken blade and bind the knee
Brave blizzards lest you miss one lesson
Cheer your teammates when inside you want to cry

Even after the worst practice
The most abysmal competition
You throw the stinking uniform into the wash and
Rise to do it all again

Next time the black dog tries to take you down
Next time you’re tempted to apologize
To anyone, for who you are and what you do
Next time you feel you have to justify the choices that you’ve made

In the face of all the crap thrown at you by the world

You persist

And all of us,
This league of super veterans
With sore joints, grey hair, and 
Badass attitudes
We’ve got your back

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